Avid Show New S3L-X At IBC 2014

09-13-2014 09:34 PM

At IBC I have just had a personal extended demo of the new Avid S3L-X. When I saw the original announcement it didn’t seem to be a big deal, but know I have been given the personal tour of the Avid S3L-X I can see much more clearly what they have done.
Key New Features in The Avid S3L-X

Keep pace with the latest sound processing innovations with 64-bit AAX DSP plug-in support.
What that actually means is the S3L engine ran on Windows XP and was 32 bit. The new S3 engine runs on Windows 8 and is 64 bit. This software change needs more RAM so you need to double the RAM in the S3 Engine, but once that is done and the OS is upgraded you have a new machine. It is hoped that there will be an upgrade kit available to enable existing S3L owners to upgrade and get the X bit.
Share the same I/O across two or more Avid S3L-X Systems, with complete auto gain compensation
With the latest version of the Venue software Venue 4.5, which is due for release on Sept 19th, it is now possible for 2 S3L control surfaces to share the same stage box and mic preamps, but most importantly each desk can have independent control of the Mic Preamp gain. Normally with I/O sharing, one desk has control of the mic preamp and the other has an offset gain control which can follow the mic preamp gain control or not. Either way it is less than satisfactory. Now both desks function as if they had their own mic preamp but they don’t, they share it. So you could have one S3 system acting as the monitor desk and another as the Front of house desk, or it could be FOH and recording.
Virtual Sound Check

With the Pro Tools option you can do virtual sound checks. Simply record the soundcheck, send the band away, flip the S3L-X over to Pro Tools and you can continue to work on the mix, and then best of all any changes you make during the virtual soundcheck can be automatically integrated into the Venue show file.
Mix DAW sessions using Avid S3 as a standalone mixing surface and 4x6 audio interface. Record directly to Pro Tools (or other DAW) through a simple laptop Ethernet connection.
You can take away your S3L controller and with a laptop mix a recording made with the S3L-X. The system enables you to record up to 64 channels into Pro Tools over a single Cat5e cable with no audio interface attached to the computer. What’s more Pro Tools automatically sets up the session based on your VENUE show file, complete with snapshots, etc. With EuControl 3.2, you can mix those recorded Pro Tools and other DAW sessions using just the S3 control surface and laptop, enabling you to set up a mobile recording/mixing studio anywhere. The S3 controller becomes a 4 in 6 out interface as well as a controller for Pro Tools. I do hope Avid will sell the S3 controller on its own as a controller and interface option for Pro Tools.

These changes like the OS and RAM upgrade, as well as the Eucon 3.2 and Venue 4.5 software upgrades have made the S3 and even more powerful system. Avid have also signed up to the AVB open protocol which could mean in the future that a Yamaha desk could share an Avid stage box with and S3 system.